Healthy-Habit Hunting After Ice-Chewing Pica – Maryanne MacLeod

Healthy-Habit Hunting After Ice-Chewing Pica

When you nurse a bad habit for years, you don’t expect to wake up one day and be obsession-free.  But that’s what happened to my ice chewing habit. One day I was chugging back bucketfulls of crunchy bliss, on car trips, at meal times and even in the shower. The next, I wasn’t.

Neither myself nor my hair stylist will forget the time pregnant me mawed an entire four-pound bag during a single appointment. Now, if I think about chewing ice, my teeth sweat and the skin underneath my armpits trembles, as if to say: “N-N-N-No!”  

The game-changer? Finding a treatment for anemia that worked for me. When that happened, my ice craving, called a “pica” disappeared, along with those ungodly hemoglobin counts. 6.9 was a recent low. 12 is normal. 8 is transfusion territory. 

Maintaining a respectable blood count has other advantages: I don’t see stars when I get up in the morning or feel like passing out five minutes into exercise.  But new challenges have sprung up in their wake.

Now, whenever I crave the mental break that ice-chewing offered, I’m stumped.  Should I start smoking? Nah, hubby would be disgusted – and worse – disappointed.  Gum-chewing would be good – if it wasn’t so sticky.  Eventually I’d like to start running again. But eventually isn’t here yet.  Cooking is a past-time I could sink my teeth into.  But my waistline can see the future. And it’s enormous.

Often when faced with tough questions like this, the answer is “yoga”. But I don’t think my editor would appreciate headstands in the newsroom. (or in my car)

Former smokers, over-eaters, nail-biters and ice chewers: Which healthy habits have you turned to in recovery?  Is there life after addiction?  If so, what does it look like?  This inquiring mind wants to know.

In addition to being a heartfelt supporter of the goals and ideals of “A Beautiful Me®”, guest bloggist Maryanne MacLeod is a storyteller and social media expert for The Macomb Daily and volunteer public relations manager for the Macomb Food Collaborative.  @MaryanneMacLeod